Southern Miss

Southern Miss lands spot in Collegiate Baseball preseason poll

Matthew Guidry of Southern Miss gets the throw as USTA's Kevin Markham is caught stealing during a Conference USA Tournament game at MGM Park in Biloxi on May 26, 2017.
Matthew Guidry of Southern Miss gets the throw as USTA's Kevin Markham is caught stealing during a Conference USA Tournament game at MGM Park in Biloxi on May 26, 2017. Sun Herald file

The Southern Miss baseball team checks in at No. 25 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll for the 2018 campaign.

The Golden Eagles finished 50-16 last season and earned the right to host an NCAA regional for the second time in program history. USM is the only Conference USA team ranked in the poll.

Mississippi State, which won the regional in Hattiesburg last season, checks in at No. 13 following a 40-27 season in Andy Cannizaro's first season as head coach.

South Alabama, which also took part in the Hattiesburg Regional, is ranked at No. 17.

Ole Miss is ranked at No. 38 in the Collegiate Baseball poll after finishing 32-25 and missing out on the postseason last year. LSU lands at No. 10.

USM should have a lineup comparable to that of last year's team with sophomore outfielder Matt Wallner, redshirt sophomore Matt Guidry and junior outfielder/first baseman Hunter Slater returning to the fold. Also, Mississippi State transfer Luke Reynolds is set to take over at third base for Taylor Braley, who signed with the Miami Marlins following an outstanding junior season at the plate and as a starting pitcher.

The biggest task for USM will be filling out its starting rotation with Braley and left-hander Kirk McCarty, who signed with the Cleveland Indians, both being drafted this past summer.

USM will host Mississippi State in a three-game series to begin the 2018 season, starting on Feb. 16.

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